Born May 15, 1891, in Sankt Lorenzen, Carinthia, Austria; died Dec. 13, 1968, in Vienna. Figure in the Austrian and international workers’ movement. The son of an agricultural laborer. A shoemaker by profession.
Koplenig as a youth aligned himself with the workers’ movement; in 1909 he joined the Austrian Social Democratic Party. During World War I he was captured in Russia in 1915 and, as a prisoner of war, carried on work among the Austrian prisoners, later participating in the struggle against the White Guard forces. In 1918 he became a Communist. He returned to Austria in 1920. In 1922 he was elected to the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Austria (CPA), of which he was elected general secretary in 1924. Koplenig was instrumental in solidifying the ranks of the CPA on the principles of Marxism-Leninism and proletarian internationalism; he fought unwearyingly against opportunistic elements and factionalists. He was elected a member of the Executive Committee of the Comintern in 1928 and was a member of the committee’s Presidium from 1935 to 1943. Because of his revolutionary activity he was frequently subjected to persecution and imprisonment. By a resolution of the Central Committee of the CPA he left Austria in 1934. From abroad he continued to direct the struggle of the Austrian Communists against fascism and for the independence of the country. From 1945 to 1965 he was chairman and after May 1965 honorary chairman of the CPA. In 1945 he was vice-chancellor of the Provisional Government of Austria. He was a deputy to the Austrian parliament from 1945 to 1959. Koplenig wrote many works on the Austrian and international workers’ movement.
WORKSReden und Aufsätze, 1924–1950. Vienna, 1951.
In Russian translation:
Izbr. proizv. Moscow, 1963.
REFERENCEZucker-Schilling, E. Er diente seiner Klasse: Eine Biographie. Vienna, 1971.
D. N. MOCHALIN